Not only is he Flaandrian, his last name (really) is Guns. How can a combination like that ever fail?!
Kris and I have been working together a few months now and he's come on very well indeed, becoming one of the stronger riders in his adopted Hong Kong. He recently qualified with much time to spare for the World's Masters Gran Fondo with a cracking ride in Niseko, Hokkaido just a couple of weeks ago, and is starting to threaten a few of the Strava KOMs around HK - not bad for a guy who identified himself as a time trialist when we started working together.
As ever there was no real rocket science to Kris' evolution as a rider, just some guidance from me as to when and when not to ride hard, and a bucket load of hard work from him! We took our time to build a consolidated base then moved on up from there, to the point now where we're both excited to see how much further he can develop.
Kris was very kind to write a testimonial about my coaching, and here it is below.
One last note, I can indeed work with athletes who want to use PMs and HRMs, it's just that we don't let the numbers be the Big Boss, but rather see it as a useful pointer for the road ahead, metaphorically speaking, and maybe even literally...
Crank Punk Coaching Systems Testimonial by Kris Guns
Ulaanbataar, September 2014; basking in confidence I am at the start of the Mongolia Bike Challenge, a demanding 7 day mountain bike race in the beautiful nature of Mongolia. Only 2 months before I finished Ironman Nice in a respectable 11:11:19. Having covered the bike leg, with its 1,900m of climbing, at an average speed of nearly 31.5 average, I was pretty certain I’d have this race under control. 7 Days and as many days of pain, torture and suffering later, I was back with my feet on the ground. This must have been the toughest race ever and, worst of all, I got my ass kicked so hard by my best friend who specially flew in from Belgium. Although I was happy I finished the race, the disappointment of not keeping up with the guys and, most important my buddy, hit hard. Very hard!
I kept messing around for a year, trying to get stronger and faster on the bike. I read numerous articles on bike strength and speed and tried countless different training sessions, only hoping I’d kill it on the bike next time. Alas, worse was still to come. A year after my Ironman in Nice, I’m at the start line in Klagenfurt, Austria. Having put the hours of training in, I am ready to give it all. Almost 12 hours later, I realize things didn’t work out at all. On an easier bike course, my bike leg is considerably slower and I’m falling completely to pieces during the marathon. Quite a shock...
Pondering what more I could do, I remember that Punk I met in Mongolia. A nice chap and fast as hell during that race, Lee stuck to my mind. The guy has an interesting life story that quite stayed with me. Having had bad experiences with coaches in the past, I was quite hesitant to try a new coaching adventure again but hey, I needed to get faster on the bike. From the first time we got back in touch, it clicked. No heart rate monitors, no power meters… just feeling and fun. Hell, if I wouldn’t get faster, at least I didn’t have to regret wasting my time checking my power curves and heart rate zone. His motto was quite simple; enjoy your time in the saddle and I’ll make you faster. Maybe he should have told me as well about all the suffering that was going to come...
It’s been quite an experience ever since. Planning the most varied sessions with the craziest names (Hills Atarashii anyone?), every week feels very different. It’s always a surprise to see the new schedule ahead and I always look forward to see what suffering is waiting for me. Every week consists of easier rides combined with some real challenging ball busters. It’s the combination of these sessions that seem to be the magic potion. Ever since we started, the only way is up! After 6 months, I managed to win the 48k ITT of the famous Hong Kong Dragons. This July, we head off with Project 852 to Niseko in Japan. On the menu was the first Asian qualifier for the Masters World Championship in Perth. Riding only my 3rd race ever, much to my surprise I managed to qualify. Wow, that’s cranking!
5 Weeks from now, I will for the second time ever participate in a 7 day bike race. Ahead of me lies the Haute Route Dolomites in which we will climb 21,000 meter over 900k. My best friend from Belgium will fly over as well and we will be on the start line together again. No worries, the Punk has it covered. Game on!!!